Women’s gymnastics: Vaulting into 2023
The GIST: Grab your favorite leo and try to balance your excitement, because college women’s gymnastics returns today. Here’s who’s hoping to string perfect 10s together all the way to the natty.
How it works: About 3,500 (!!!) female gymnasts across 81 NCAA programs compete in four events (vault, bars, beam and floor) at meets throughout the season. The top 36 teams plus 76 individuals not on a qualifying team — 12 all-arounders and 16 specialists on each event — will be selected for the postseason.
- These athletes will compete in three rounds at four regional meets in late March or early April to determine the eight teams, four all-arounders and 16 specialists who will advance to the April 13–15 National Championships in Fort Worth, TX.
The contenders: Leading the charge to the 2023 ’ship are defending champs No. 1 Oklahoma. Not only are the Sooners returning most of their 2022 title team, but they’ve also added two former-elite freshmen, elevating their already stacked squad.
- On their heels, however, is No. 2 Florida, whose deep recruiting and returning star Trinity Thomas could turn the Sooners into Gator bait.
- But don’t count out No. 3 Utah or No. 4 Michigan. The Utes are perennially strong, particularly on beam and floor, while the 2021 champ Wolverines feature a slew of upperclassmen hungry for hardware.
The standouts: Many of Team USA’s brightest stars will be sticking landings all over collegiate mats. Olympians Jade Carey (Oregon State), Sunisa Lee (Auburn) and Jordan Chiles (UCLA) are medalists to watch, along with Florida’s Leanne Wong.
- Florida also boasts the aforementioned reigning all-around national champ Thomas, the only NCAA gymnast with three gym slams (a perfect 10.0 on every event at a single meet). Look for her to make more viral routines look stunningly easy.
What to watch: The action begins today, with the biggest kickoff meet, the Super 16 Vegas Podium Challenge, airing on BTN. The Sin City competition features 16 squads, 14 of which are preseason ranked. Catch Fisk, the first-ever HBCU team, and previously mentioned Carey in today’s sessions one and two, respectively.
- Then tomorrow, don’t miss 2022 Pac-12 champ Cal in session three or anyone in the stacked session four that includes No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 4. Michigan, No. 5 Auburn and No. 10 UCLA. It’s floor party season.